The Shafter Generals opened up the SSL season with a 33-7 victory over the Chavez Titans, proving that a great team can win even when it is not playing its best football.
The Generals' offense on Friday night never got in sync fully, getting enough done to get the win, but the team as a whole united and came up with a victory. The Shafter defense, despite a couple of blown coverages in the secondary, came up big, giving the offense the ball with turnovers when really needed.
To the point, after struggling through a forgettable first half, it looked like the Titans were going to go into the half either tied or with a lead when they had a first and goal inside the Generals' 10 yard line with under two minutes to go.
But, the Generals' defense saved the half with an interception in the end zone that was run back the other way down to the Chavez 7 yard line, giving the Generals a chance to score before the half. Quarterback Ezekiel Osborn took advantage of the opportunity and hit Jesus Figueroa for a touchdown pass to give the Generals a 14-7 lead.
In the second half, Osborn and company scored three more times, on a run by Cash Gutierrez, a touchdown pass play and another running touchdown for the final score of 33-7.
Osborn finished the game with 16 for 28 passing, for 149 yards and two touchdowns. Christopher Espinoza had 124 yards and two touchdowns on the night. Jesus Vasquez also had some valuable yardage in the second half, enabling the Generals to keep control of the ball and drive down the field.
Shafter began the night on a high note when the Shafter junior varsity team beat the Titan junior varsity, 42-7. An excellent balanced attack on offense gave the Titans fits all night, and the Colonels' defense provided a wall against Kennedy.
This Friday night, the Generals will travel to Taft to take on the Wildcats, who are coming off a big loss to the Kennedy Thunderbirds of Bakersfield. The junior varsity game will kick off at 5 p.m., and the varsity will start at 7:30 p.m.